Please note that you should be skeptical of everything you read on internet including this article. There is a lot of false information out there. Always have a healthy skepticism.
A new disease has come into existence called COVID-19. It has an overall mortality rate of about 2%. It seems that almost all the cases of mortality are very old people or people who have a pre-existing lung disease.
The response of all the governments around the world is to isolate or to stop people being in contact with each other. This is called the delay phase. This is the time when an attempt is made to eliminate the virus by stopping any contagion. For example, if everyone in the whole world stayed at home in isolation for a month any coronavirus would become extinct because anyone who had it would either be dead or their own immune system would have destroyed it.
Stopping a disease which spreads very easily by isolation is almost impossible. The human race just does not have enough discipline. It only takes a few people to disobey the isolation and the quarantine period resets to day one for the whole world.
We are just lucky that really horrible diseases such as Ebola do not spread very easily. Things could be a lot worse if rather than COVID-19 we had an Ebola pandemic.
The harsh reality is that eventually we just have to accept that most of us will get it. It is like one of those wildlife documentaries when a massive amount of zebras, wildebeest or buffalos have to cross a river on their migration. Some of the weaker or very old buffalos will drown while crossing the river or provide food for crocodiles. There is no alternative, the summer grazing is south and there is no other way. This is the very frightening reality that we are now in.
In our case, we as a species have to confront the new COVID-19 virus. The war will take place inside our bodies with our immune systems fighting off the disease. After this fight the COVID-19 virus will become just another disease like the common cold. Viruses continually mutate and the success of a virus is how much they can spread or how many copies of their generic code exist. It is not an advantage for a virus to be too deadly because if everyone who gets it dies quickly then the virus will not spread so well. So in the end the COVID-19 virus will evolve to become just another common cold type illness that has a low mortality rate.
What should governments and society do about pandemic diseases?
Most people agree that as few people as possible should die. There is no cure for the virus but if severe cases can get access to high quality hospital care then they are much more likely to survive. This sort of intensive care is very limited so it is best as much as possible to slow down the contagion rate so that the peak is less pronounced. There can be nothing worse for a government than seeing people dying because of an overload on the heath system. Governments have to decide how Draconian to be which is a difficult judgment to make.
What should individuals do about pandemic diseases?
You may have to conclude that when a disease is highly contagious there is no alternative to getting it. You can’t keep hiding from it forever. You can run but you sure can’t hide. Like a buffalo approaching the river which needs to be crossed you will have to take your chances. Your body has to do battle with the virus and for 98% of the population you will win. Anything you do has a risk and getting COVID-19 is just another one, although admittedly, playing Russian roulette with a gun which has one bullet and 50 chambers is not a game anyone would wish to play.
An interesting question which may never be answered is the following: The fear of a pandemic can cause massive economic slow down. This in itself may eventually lead to a massive amount of deaths. Would it be better to just face the pandemic head on? Just as a society say “bring it on”. Stock up on paracetamol intentionally, do nothing to stop the disease and just hope that it burns itself out quickly? There will be people dying in hospital car parks but not for long. In that way the economic harm can be minimized. People say that the austerity measures in the UK after the 2008 crash caused 40 000 deaths a year. (I don’t know where this statistic came from) . Eventually the powers that be will have to weigh up how many people will die from corvid-19 and how many will die from the economic consequences. Many countries such as Spain have a strict lock down approach and it is even forbidden to take a dog for a long walk. For how long is this tenable?